Good karma for Christmas. It is the season of goodwill, after all.

By Rosie Earl
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Over Crimbo, it's a great time to take a moment to see how you can give back to those who won't have a merry Christmas.

Christmas is right around the corner - that time of year when we eat way too much food, and spend far too much money. It’s a time of love and joy, however, it's also a time when lots of people around the country (and indeed, the world) will feel lonelier and worse off than ever. People who are not having the awesome holiday celebrations that everyone deserves. You can help, regardless of budget, to make a festive miracle happen - just like in the movies.

What’s in it for me?

Helping others is great for your mental health - it can really help you to feel better knowing you've done some good for someone else. I appreciate it's a selfish way to look at it, but why the hell not, it's Christmas! Treat yourself to some good karma, and do something awesome today. Here's some ideas to get you started…

Crafternoon for mind

The Mind Crafternoon takes inspiration from the Macmillan Coffee Morning model - get some friends round, hang out together and make a bit of money for a great charity. I’ve written previously that homemade Christmas cards and gifts are a great way to save money, so grab some pals and channel your inner child. Why not save pennies while supporting Mind? They do some fantastic work helping people with mental health concerns get treatment without stigma, and with 1 in 4 people in the U.K. suffering with mental health conditions, there's a lot of people to help. Download a fundraising pack here, and pass the glitter!

Buy charity Christmas cards

If homemade Christmas cards aren’t your thing, why not pick up some charity Christmas cards instead? If you pop into any high street charity shop, you'll see loads of designs (some religious, some secular- whatever your taste). You can also pick them up online, for example from Cancer Research UK,Traidcraft, or Cardaid, or in high street shops like John Lewis or Marks and Spencer.

Volunteer your time

The festive season is a very busy time for everyone, but if you can spare a few hours, there will be organisations that will be very grateful for your help. Charities like Crisis will be really busy helping the homeless, and could always use more volunteers. The Royal Voluntary Service and Age UK are looking for people to support the growing number of elderly people who will be alone this Christmas.

You may even just want to check in on an elderly neighbour or relative, particularly when the weather gets cold. Elderly people are more likely to fall ill or die in the winter, with the NHS reporting almost 44,000 “excess deaths” between December and March last year. Search on Google for local volunteer events in your area and see how you can put your time to good use.

Christmas jumper day

Man, I love Christmas jumpers - they never fail to get me ready for Santa. Save the Children have been organising Christmas jumper day since 2012, and it's a great opportunity to don a hideous festive knit and raise money for a fantastic cause. This year, Christmas Jumper Day is Friday 16th December, though you could do it on any day that’s convenient for your workplace or school.. All that matters is that people look silly and bring in a couple of quid for charity. There are loads of useful resources to download from the website (tacky jumper not included!) Most supermarkets and clothes shops are doing Christmas jumpers now, so there’s shortage of festive knits - get one today!

Buy a gift from a charity

Many charities have started doing Wishlists where you can order a gift that will go to someone in need on behalf. It's like a double gift: you make a donation on behalf of a loved one (gift for them) and someone who needs a goat or a tap or school books gets something to enrich their lives. Oxfam Unwrapped and Save the Children Wishlist are great places to get started.

If animals are more your thing, you could sponsor an animal for a year as a gift to someone. There's adoption packs to suit anyone's taste is animals – for example: Durrell Wildlife Park's Blue Poison Frog, Llama Karma Kafe's Llamas, Guide Dogs Sponsor a Puppy, and WWF's Adopt a Penguin.

Top Takeaway

There are loads of creative ways to give something back this Christmas: you can give your time or your money; go big or go small. Share that goodwill to help more people have a very merry Christmas and an amazing new year.

 

By Rosie Earl

Rosie is a massive geek who loves anything Hello Kitty or penguin related. She writes every day and wants to be Caitlin Moran when she grows up. If she was an animal, she would be a baby dragon (with a solid background in finance). The Sorting Hat would have put her in Hufflepuff, and she is cool with that.

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